Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday at The Los Angeles Times Festival Of Books at UCLA

If you write a book, people will come.

A young author from 826LA read her work. She wrote The Smiths. She lives in Echo Park. I remember a time when I was also the son and the heir of  a shyness that was criminally vulgar. 

The stage was empty. Earlier, a poet read a poem about some love supreme. Some  poems just make me feel too insecure. Is the spaghetti too salty? Does my coffee have enough creamer? Will my husband  stay with me 40 more years? 

And this is how this man's back looked like when he listened to poetry.

There was a house far from here with green floor and red geraniums.  One day poetry arrived.  

Mr. Dave Eggers wrote books. We came to listen to his experience.

I took home some words.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Save me

It happened again. I was participating in my daily walk. I had my headphones on. I had my ipod on. Tommy Guerro was jamming away. Then, I saw them approaching me: the Mormon Missionaries. Since I have brown skin, the cute men from Utah assumed I didn't speak English, so in their broken Spanish they began to ask me these questions:

1. Adónde vamos después de esta vida?
2. Cuál es el propósito de la vida?


I was just thinking about the shades of blue of blue in the sky and my washer (the knob is broken). I removed my headphones. I turned off my ipod. I smiled.

I smiled because even at my age, I still look like I need to be saved.

Saved from what?

I don't know. I don't care.

But it feels damn good to know that I still look dangerous, confused, empty, stupid......alive.

post edit: After reading canto de caza's comment, i was reminded of Aimee Mann's video (Thank you, sir):

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Night with The Dude

It appears that every other article in the Los Angeles Times is about Gustavo Dudamel. Angelenos are going gaga over this man from Venezuela. I don't blame them; his love of music is contagious. I think I'm catching the Bravo Gustavo virus.

Okay, first, Los Angeles is not famous for it's great intellectual ability, but, holy guacamole, did The Los Angeles Philharmonic demonstrate some smarts when they hired The Dude to be their conductor. Perhaps in the future, my husband and I will visit the Walt Disney Concert Hall (gulp! did I say Disney?!) and spend some time with the L.A. Phil. Second, why am I talking about about Dudamel? Like, I'm not training to write a music review for the Rolling Stone magazine any time soon, you know. Anyway, I'm quite happy today, so I just wanted to listen to Danzon No. 2....that's all.

(Here's my favorite article about The Dude written by John Densmore, yeah, the guy from The Doors)

Here's a video of Mr. Dudamel conducting the Simon Bolivar Orchestra:

Monday, April 12, 2010


My friend  told me this:

Salvatore wore two ties, one for the physical world and the other for the spiritual world.

How many ties do you wear?

This is for Salvatore who sat next to Jim (my friend's brother) for many years in a mental institution. Jim never got over the Vietnam war. Salvatore claimed to be from the kingdom of God. Thank you, Salvatore, for keeping Jim company.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


He followed me to the bathroom with a Robert Frost book in his hands. I cleaned his bathroom while he read poetry to me.

Please, sir, read it again.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year

I cleaned Mr. Paul’s house every Saturday morning. I needed money to buy food while I studied at the university.

My body was 21 years old and his was 52. I was hungry.

We had an arrangement:

The kitchen was for history.
The living room was for politics.
The bathroom was reserved for poetry.
The bedroom for silence and bright yellow sheets.

Sometimes Mr. Paul treated me like a daughter. He fed me vegetarian meals. He gave me origami birds. He described an acid trip. He even tried to clarify Noam Chomsky for me. Other times, I just took orders from him to separate the colors and the whites.

One day I helped him fix his shirt’s collar. When I was done, he took my hand and kept it on his chest for a while. I felt myself on the landscape of his heart.

I left.

I went home because I knew the color oh his girlfriend’s toothbrush. I went home because I knew she slept on the right side of the bed.

I left with my hunger.

(please excuse the song,  my jersey homeboy, bruce, understands)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Letter to New York City


Dear New York City,

My name is L.  I'm 44 years old.

New York.

I don't know how to tell you this, but I'm too ordinary for you.

I'm faded blue jeans. I'm an old yellow t-shirt with holes. I'm a $3.99 dozen of flowers at the farmer's market. I'm monosyllabic. I prefer the Guggenheim without any walls. Routine is my mint tea.

You are too beautiful for me. You are an expensive red lipstick. You are black high heels. Polysyllabic. Intelligent. Tolerant. You speak beautiful poems at 2:00 a.m.

New York, you are my Tonio Kroger.

I will not die to everyday life for you.



p.s. We will always have the Chelsea District

Turistas Españoles En New York

El abuelo le mostrabá a la niña como fotografiar el puente de Brooklyn. Le mostrabá como grabar el consumismo de Time Square. La avaricia de Wall Street. El frio del homeless person que dormia en un rincón afuera del hotel de 4 estrellas. La sonrisa del extraño. El color turquesa que dejaba una memoria perdida.

Así, abuelo?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Where did my life go?

I swept the streets of New York for thirty fucking years. I swept the nights away. The sunlight. My women. I swept away bits and pieces of my soul.

When the rain left

After the heroin. After his father's vinegar love.  After his girlfriend's abortion three years ago. After losing his $8.50 an hour job at Walmart.

All he had left was that morning at Washington Square Park and that sound between his hands and the lord.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A married couple in New York city

We found two ducks on Tuesday afternoon in Central Park. It had been raining all day. Our clothes and shoes were soaked. We were tired. We looked at the birds closely, but these feathery animals were not Salinger's ducks. They were geese. We held hands and kept walking.